Dr Jonathan Fitchen

Dr Jonathan Fitchen

Senior Lecturer


Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 273845
The University of Aberdeen D.55 Taylor Building


Dr Jonathan Fitchen joined the School of Law in September 2008: he is the Director of the Centre for Private International Law and a Senior Lecturer. He currently teaches Private International Law, International Trade Law, Carriage of Goods By Sea, International Trade and Finance, European Competition Law, European Union Law and aspects of Equity.

Prior to his current appointment, he led and lectured Competition Law and Private International Law plus a variety of other private law subjects (including Contract Law, Commercial Law, Torts Law, Land Law, Equity) at various English universities including University of Wales Aberystwyth and University of Hertfordshire.

From 1999 - 2010 Dr Fitchen was also employed by the University of Cambridge's Institute of Continuing Education as Tutor for Private International Law (and latterly also for Roman Law) for the Post-Graduate Diploma in Notarial Practice which Cambridge ran from 1999 - 2010. As there was only one accedited professional course, every lawyer who trained to be a notary in England and Wales during this time period had to pass Dr Fitchen's private international law course. 


Research Interests

Dr Fitchen's research interests are principally concerned with Private International Law and associated  procedural law in various contexts: he continues to research into the Private International Law (and associated laws of procedure) in different legal systems and in relation to the European Union. His research also explores legal issues related to international trade / international sale of goods. Particular areas explored have included issues of jurisdiction and applicable law concerning private enforcement claims based on infringements of EU competition law; the recognition, enforcement and civil procedures associated with different types of judgments, settlements and authentic instruments in various areas of civil / private law, and the emerging implications of Brexit for current legal procedural and trade arrangements involving the UK's legal systems.

2019 -2020

While finishing "The Private International Law of Authentic Instruments" (see below) Dr Fitchen took part in the IC2BE project https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/projects/ic2be/ coordinated by the University of Antwerp and has contributed a chapter to the project book 'Informed Choices in Cross-Border Enforcement', Jan von Hein (ed), Intersentia, publication delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic but now due for publication on 15 October 2020: https://intersentia.com/en/informed-choices-in-cross-border-enforcement.html. Dr Fitchen is currently working on a contribution for the forthcoming U Magnus / P Mankowski title on the EU's Insolvency Regulation, to be published by Otto Schmidt as part of their series 'European Commentaries on Private International Law' in 2021.

2018 -2019

The main writing project since 2018 has been a single authored research monograph for Hart / Bloomsbury Publishing titled, "The Private International Law of Authentic Instruments"; publictaion delayed by publisher due to Covid-19 pandemic but now announced for publication in November 2020: https://www.bloomsburyprofessional.com/uk/the-private-international-law-of-authentic-instruments-9781509907632/ .

Dr Fitchen also completely rewrote and delivered the chapter on English and European Private International Law for the new edition of the Oxford University Press practitioner's title "Product Liability" (3rd edition by D Fairgrieve and R Goldberg) - ISBN 978-0-19-867923-2, published in May 2020.



Dr Fitchen wrote the following articles:

Public policy in Succession Authentic Instruments: Articles 59 and 60 of the European Succession Regulation, InDret. 2017 (2) 366-396.

The Private International Law Consequences of Brexit, 2017 (35) Nederlands Internationaal Privaatrecht (NIPR) 411-432.

Chapter 4: Unharmonised Procedural Rules: Is there a Case for Further Harmonisation at EU Level? Cross-Border Litigation in Europe (Studies in Private International Law), Beaumont, P., Danov, M., Trimmings, K. & Yuksel, B. (eds.). Hart Publishing 2017, p. 55-78.

Chapter 39: Private Enforcement of European Competition Law. Cross-Border Litigation in Europe (Studies in Private International Law), Beaumont, P., Danov, M., Trimmings, K. & Yuksel, B. (eds.). Hart Publishing 2017, p. 671-688.

2015 - 2016

In 2015-16, The main research and writing project, funded by the european Parliament, concerned The Evidentiary Effects of Authentic Instruments in Matters of Succession.

After winning an EU-wide competitive bid application, Dr Fitchen spent much of 2015 and early 2016 working (together with Professor Paul Beaumont and Jayne Holliday) on a project funded by the Parliament of the European Union to investigate the evidentiary effects of authentic instruments in matters of succession in the 25 EU Member States who are party to the European Succession Regulation. - The UK, Ireland and Denmark are not parties to this Regulation but their nationals may be affected by it if they should become entitled to property by reason of a succession that occurs within one of the other 25 Member States. - The Study was designed to assist legal practioners faced with understanding the implications of Art 59 of the Succession Regulation which facilitates the cross-border acceptance of succession authentic instruments between the 25 Member States. The study, which has also been translated into French and German is here.

In 2015 Dr Fitchen's contribution to The Brussels I Recast 2015 Oxford University Press (edited by A Dickinson & E Lein) ISBN 978-0-19-871428-6  was published as indicated below:

Article 2 (b) – (f) circa 2,221 words. Definitions of: ‘Court Settlement’;  ‘Authentic Instrument’; ‘Member State of Origin’; ‘Member State addressed’; and ‘Court of Origin’

Article 45 circa 29,600 words. Grounds and basic procedure concerning an application for a refusal of recognition brought in the Member State addressed.

Article 46 circa 1,200 words. Concerning the application for a refusal of enforcement in the Member State addressed.

Article 47 circa 2,770 words. Identity of venue, delimitation of procedure, provision of documents to the court and provisions concerning postal addresses and legal representatives.

Article 48 circa 1,000 words. Concerning the duty of expedition imposed on the court(s) in the Member State addressed

Article 49 circa 850 words. First tier appeal procedures concerning an Article 47 procedure.

Article 50 circa 1,000 words. Second tier appeal procedures concerning Article 47 procedure.

Article 51 circa 2,380 words. Stays of proceedings brought under Article 47 or under Articles 49-50 if an ordinary appeal is possible in the Member State of origin.

Article 52 circa 2,100 words. Prohibition of any review of the substance of a foreign judgment by the court in the Member State addressed

Article 53 circa 2,460 words. The obligation of the court of origin to issue the Annex I standard form on the request of any interested party.

Article 54 circa 3,500 words. The duty on the authorities of the Member State addressed to adapt any unknown measure or order contained in a foreign judgment so as to give such equivalent effect as is locally possible to the unknown measure or order. Limitations on such adaptation and procedures / appeals relating thereunto.

Article 55 circa 2,700 words. Concerning the enforceability of judgments ordering payments by way of penalty.

Article 56 circa 500 words. Concerning the impermissibility of basing a demand for a security, bond or deposit from a judgment creditor on his ‘foreignness’ to the Member State addressed.

Article 57 circa 1,450 words. Concerning translations and transliterations.

Article 58 circa 7,100 words. Concerning the cross-border enforceability of civil and commercial authentic instruments.    

Article 60 circa 1,000 words. The enforcement procedures and the issue of the Annex II certificate concerning authentic instruments and court settlements. 

Article 61 circa 900 words – The abolition of legalisation concerning documents issued in a Member State in the context of the Brussels Ia Regulation. This entry was co-authored by Dr Fitchen and Martin George (University of Leicester).

In 2015 Dr Fitchen also published the following article:

Enforcement of civil and commercial judgments under the new Brussels Ia Regulation (Regulation 1215/2012), (2015) International Company and Commercial Law Review (ICCLR) (issue 4).


Dr Fitchen's longstanding interest and expertise in the cross-border legal effects produced by Authentic Instruments via European Union Private International Law is reflected in the following publications:

The Recognition and Enforcement of Authentic Instruments in The Proposed European Succession Regulation, Journal of Private International Law Vol 8, No 2, (2012), 323-358.

Authentic Instruments And European Private International Law In Civil and Commercial Matters: Is Now The Time To Break New Ground?, Journal of Private International Law Vol 7, No 1, (2011), 33–100.

The Application of Locus Regit Actum with particular reference to powers of attorney in the context of Private International Law and Notarial Practice, The Notary, Issue 53 (2009) 8 – 12.

Dr Fitchen also researches into the interaction of European Private International Law with the private enforcement of European Competition Law and his work on this issue was cited by Mr Advocate General Jääskinen in his opinion of 11 December 2014 in the case of C-352/13 Cartel Damage Claims (CDC) Hydrogen Peroxide SA v Akzo Nobel NV and Others. 

Chapter 21: The Applicable Law in Cross-Border Competition Law Actions and Article 6(3) of Regulation 864/2007  in Mihail Danov, Florian Becker & Paul Beaumont (eds), ‘Cross-border EU Competition Law Actions’ (Hart Studies in Competition Law (no. 4)), pp. 297-328, Hart Publishing 2013, ISBN: 9781849463744.

Choice of Law in International Claims Based On Restrictions Of Competition: Article 6(3) of the Rome II Regulation, Journal of Private International Law Vol 5, No 2, (2009) 337 – 370.


Earlier Articles include:

Grand designs, competition ‘by other means’ and new Vistas, International Review of Law, Computers and Technology, (2007) Vol 21 Number 3, 263-274.

Allocating Jurisdiction in Private Competition Claims within the EU, Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law, (2006) Vol 13 Number 4, 381-401.

Current Research

Dr Fitchen is currently working on the following projects:

  1. His contribution to the forthcoming Magnus/Mankowski Commentary on the EU Insolvency Regulation 2015, due in 2021.
  2. The post-Brexit landscape for Private International Law in the UK and EU legal systems post 2020.
  3. Responding to the EU Commission's consultation regarding Regulation 805/2004 (EU Enforcement Order Regulation).
  4. An exploration of gender related issues in systems of private international law.


In 2020 Dr Fitchen and three of his colleagues from the Centre for Private International Law decided to collaborate on an investigation of gender and Private International law. 

In 2019 Dr Fitchen was invited to contribute to the multi-institutional EU Commission funded IC2BE project and also to contribute to its book. He was also invited to contribute to the forthcoming Magnus/ Mankowski Commentary on the EU's Insolvency Regulation.

In 2018 Dr Fitchen collaborated with colleagues from different Schools (Law and Politics) within the University of Exeter in relation to an ESRC  funding application (Global Governance and Enforcement of Competition Law in Cross-Border Cases Grant Reference: ES/S002596/1) for a grant concerning a  research project concerning how best for the UK to attempt to close the enforcement gap in relation to private legal actions concerning competition law infringements.

In 2017 Dr Fitchen collaborated with colleagues from the Unversity of Aberdeen, the University of Oslo, Griffith University (Queensland) and the University of Exeter in relation to a funding application (Brexit: Shaping the UK Legal Landscape in relation to Private International Law Grant Reference: ES/P01156X/1) for an ESRC grant concerning the potential legal implications of Brexit on the long-term future of private international law in the UK's legal systems. This bid was partially successful on re-submission to the AHRC.

In 2015 - 16 Dr Fitchen collaborated with the 25 Member State experts and various additional notary contributors plus the CNUE while working with Professor Paul Beaumont and Jayne Holliday on the EU Parliament funded study into the Cross-border evidentiary effects of authentic instruments in matters of succession.

In 2013 - 15 Dr Fitchen worked with an illustrious group of private international law specialists to produce the OUP book The Brussels I Recast (2015) see above.

In 2013 Dr Fitchen was invited to join a response to an ESRC call concerning, “Future of UK and Scotland pre and post-referendum investment”, by contributing to a collaborative and interdisciplinary funding bid for £2.5M of which up to £500,000 would have been available for ‘law-related’ research. The bid involved various academics from different Schools from the University of Aberdeen, the University of Dundee and Strathclyde University. It concerned the Future of the UK and Scotland – Governance Theme. The bid proceeded past the initial stage but foundered at the interview stage when ‘our’ bid – as advocated by Dundee - lost out to a rival bid submitted by the University of Edinburgh.

Research Grants

In 2015 - 16 Dr Fitchen applied successfully (with Professor Paul Beaumont) for the competitive tender published by the EU Parliament for a 25 Member State expert study into the Cross-border evidentiary effects of authentic instruments in matters of succession. The grant was for circa 60,000 Euros. Dr Fitchen drafted most of the funding application for this European Parliament Study (as mentioned above) and undertook most of the resulting work: see http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/556935/IPOL_STU(2016)556935_EN.pdf.

Otherwise Dr Fitchen regularly assists in the reviewing and drafting of other's grant applications advising and in places re-writing funding applications in the course of formal and informal internal peer review processes: e.g. in 2013 the Aberdeen Law School’s Centre for Private International Law sought to bid for European Commission funding of circa €913,951 for a two year long multi-institutional research project into the role of European private international law instruments in Civil Justice in the EU - this grant (European Union Private International Law: Legal Application in Reality JUST/2013/JCIV/AG/4635) was awarded to Aberdeen and its results can be found here. Most recently he reviewed the funding application that became Dr Trimming's Protection of Abducting Mothers (POAM) project.


Teaching Responsibilities

Dr Fitchen has taught law at degree level since 1995: he has extensive experience in designing running and leading law courses at LLB, LLM and post -degree professional levels. Dr Fitchen has taught via on campus and via distance learning methods at diffeent levels for many years. Dr Fitchen has been a fellow of the HEA since 2007.

Dr Fitchen currently teaches:

At LLB ordinary level: LLB Private International aw; LLB European Union Law, and Equity.

At LLB Honours Level: Carriage of Goods By Sea; Private International Law of Commercial Law; Competition Law; International Trade Law; supervision of LLB Dissertations.

At LLM level: International Commercial Litigation; Competition Law; International Trade & Finance Law; Carriage of Goods By Sea; supervision of LLM Dissertations. Dr Fitchen also contributes to the LLM on European Economic Law and teaches on the Aberdeen distance learning International Sale of Goods LLM course.

At research degree level Dr Fitchen has supervised 5 students at Aberdeen to the successful award of their doctorates (in fields concerning aspects of: Recognition and enforcement in private international law competition law, private international law and international trade law). He presently is supervising two doctoral candidates who are writing respectively about a) the Singapore Convention on Mediation; b) the national implementation of European wildlife legislation and will soon be commencing supervision of two new PhD students writing about Commercial Arbitration and Space Law respectively.  

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Dr Fitchen is an external examiner for Edinburgh University for various modules concerning International Commercial Arbitration, the Law of International Trade and EU Law.

Previously Dr Fitchen acted as an external examiner for Roman Law at Queen's University, Belfast and for the University of Strathclyde for Competition Law, EU Law and Private International Law.

Admin Responsibilities

Dr Fitchen is the Director of the Centre for Private International Law, a member of the School Research Committee, and sits on the University Quality Assurance Committee. 

Dr Fitchen is also presently the Convenor of the Board of Examiners for the Law School of the University of Aberdeen. He is responsible for the preparation, organisation and conduct of the relevant Boards of Examiners required: a) to assess any special or unusual circumstances relevant to a final degree award prior to the actual classification board; and b) to confer the final degree classification for every degree programme provided by the Law School (e.g. the LLB degrees; the LLM degrees and the professional Diploma in Professional Legal Practice). Dr Fitchen chairs all these boards and is also required to liaise with other University Schools for those students who have combined 'law' modules with their non-law degrees. He leads the Law School admin team who ensure that the classification process is carried out in accordance with the tight deadlines set by the University.

Previous administrative responsibilities at Aberdeen have included:

a) for several years leading the Law School Student Attendance Monitoring team, reforming its procedures, and representing the Law School on the University Student Retention Committee;

b) for three years leading the compulsory LLB Dissertation Module (completely overhauling its materials and taught / research training components) while also being responsible for the allocation of dissertation marking and for the allocation of available places on the optional level 4 honours courses that each law student must pick over their third and fourth years of study.